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Song For A Warrior; Open
Topic Started: Oct 20 2016, 01:50 PM (871 Views)
Malloon
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Survivor
[ *  * ]
(Benjamin Lichter continues from Prince of Nothing)

He sat in a chair. He knew his hands and feet were handcuffed to it, even though he didn't look down. He knew his classmates were left, right and across from him, though he didn't turn to look. He sat, terrified, looking past the dead body of Mr. Graham, who sat limply in a chair in the middle of an ever-growing pool of blood. He was looking at the man who was standing behind the chair, still holding the gun to Mr. Graham's head. The man looked at the group, not focusing on any of them, but just stood there, leering. Then he walked around the chair, gun in his hand, held loosely at his side, and started to speak.

"My name's Jim Greynolds, but you probably won't be seeing me again," he said. "Now that I have your attention, please follow these ground rules during the presentation you're about to receive: No talking, no struggling, and absolutely no crying."

"If you think of trying anything at all," he smirked, while gesturing to Mr. Graham with his gun, "that will be you. We take our chats pretty seriously; we know how kids love to chatter, so we're demonstrating our no-tolerance policy." He poked Mr. Graham in the head with the muzzle, while the blood on the floor soaked into his shoes. "Now, with that out of the way, please welcome to the stage the one and only Danya." Then he walked off the stage with exaggerated strides, clapping all the way.

Danya walked on to the stage, and it was as if the devil himself had taken form and walked upon the earth. Ben knew very little about God, and Satan, since he himself had been very little when he had stopped going to church, and, truth be told, he'd never really prayed much. If he did, it was more of a "Oh-God-please-let-me-pass-my-math-test.", type of prayer, one that even he didn't really believe would work. But looking as the man on the stage, Ben knew that, if Satan walked among them, his name was Mr. Danya. His smile was kind and ruthless. His face was welcoming and cold. And his voice spoke with the authority of a true leader, someone who you would gladly follow to your doom.

"Hello, students of Cochise High School. For those of you who don't know what's happening, or who may have forgotten or chosen to deny it, allow me to explain. My name is Mr. Danya. Welcome to Survival of the Fittest."

Ben's classmates erupted in horror, but Danya waited, patiently, until they died down. His ease and certainty was horrifying, and Ben knew that he could afford to take his time: He had all the time in the world.

"The next time you wake up, you will be on an island. You will have a metal collar around your neck. These collars are filled with explosives. If you try to tamper with them, they will blow up. If you try to escape the island, they will blow up. Every day we will make parts of the island off-limits, and if you enter them or stay in them, your collar will blow up.

"You will be randomly assigned a weapon, but keep in mind that if you don't like it you can always seek out an opportunity to upgrade. The point of this little game, you see, is to be the last person standing. Only one of you gets to go home. That lucky survivor will, providing they killed someone, be allowed to return home. If they didn't, we'll put them right back in for the next version, to learn from their mistakes or be taken out by someone with a better attitude."

He smiled with glee, his excitement at the prospect clear for all to see. His facade of gracefulness fell away as temptation was no longer needed. Instead, pure malice, evil, shone through.

"We'd like to discourage the last one standing not having killed anyone, you see."

Then he stepped briskly to the side of the stage, moving out of the way of a projection that had appeared on the wall behind him. "Don't worry if you can't take all of this in," he said while he walked. "Allow me, if you will, to provide an illustrative example, to perhaps make clear what simple words cannot."

Ben looked, and saw two boys and a girl on the screen. One of the boys, the one in the beanie hat, was holding a machine gun. The other was wearing a striped shirt and was facing away from the other two. "You can't just run away from this," said the girl to the second boy. "Yeah, I know," he answered, "But I think I can briskly walk from it. See you later." Then he started walking in the direction he was facing. "Did he really just do that?" said the girl. "He killed Amy and is now walking away like nothing happened?" She paused, uncertain what to do. "Do we follow?"

"No. We don't follow," decided the boy with the beanie and shot the other boy in the back.

Danya moved in front of the image as it started to fade. "Those two boys," he said, pointing to the image, "were friends. You see now what friendship is worth. It's one thing to let someone copy your math homework, but quite another to trust them with your life." Ben looked to his left, where Maxim sat. He had a grim but determined look on his face. No, Maxim wasn't the danger. He looked to his right, where he knew Lili was. She was pale, but resolute, like she had been when she wanted to take first watch. Maybe she lacked the strength she thought she had, but she wouldn't be the one to turn on them. Then he looked at himself, sitting there shackled and trembling, and felt surprisingly calm. He would be scared, he would be angry, and horrified. His mind would lack the strength to resist that. Maybe he would defer to instinct or fear in moments of stress, but he was sure that nothing in the world would make him turn on his friends. And so they sat there, resisting Danya, rebuking him in silence.

Danya opened his arms wide, as if to hug them. ""Look around you. Every one of the others in this room, every one of your classmates must die if you want to go home." No.

"Anyone you see could end up killing you, or you could end up killing them." You lie.

"I'll be in touch with you every day. I'll tell you who died and who killed them. I'll also let you know which parts of our arena you can't go to." How nice of you.

"Everything that takes place here will be broadcast over the internet using cameras we've placed around the island. That means you don't have to worry about your families not knowing what you did here— they'll be able to watch it all happen." They'll see us escaping you.

"Of course, it would be very selfish of anyone to stop other people's families from keeping up - not to mention a security concern - so if you tamper with or damage a camera, we'll blow your collar." Ben's eyes widened. The cameras! He'd forgotten about them. How could they possibly plan an escape while Danya was watching?

"You'll want to put on a good face for your loved ones back home, of course, but do remember what you have to do to see them again. I imagine most will be forgiving, should you manage to do what it takes to make it back." Coldness slipped down from Ben's upper spine and wrapped around his heart. He wanted to see his family again.

Danya started to turn to go, but stopped, and turned his face towards Ben. "One more thing: There's no waiting this game out. If a day passes without someone getting a kill, we'll blow all your collars try again next time."

He put on a gas mask and walked away, his footsteps echoing across the room as he walked and walked and walked away...

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Ben woke slowly, his mind jumping erratically from one fact to the next. They were being watched. People had to kill or they all died. His family could see him. People had to kill or they all died. He wanted his family. His family could see him. They were being watched. He wanted his family. People had to kill or they all died.

He opened his eyes. He was lying on the same bed he and Maxim had sat on the night before. He had curled up on it when Maxim took first watch, and again after waking Lili. People had to kill or they all died. He wasn't dead. That meant someone else was. And their death had been on purpose.

He shivered, and turned on his side. The morning felt cold, but it wasn't just the temperature that made him do that. Someone had killed someone else. And he had a sneaking suspicion who had done it. It wouldn't have been that hard, he thought. An exposed neck, a glass shard rammed into it from the side, cold dead eyes staring in silence as someone else's lifeblood drained away. Simple. He tried to imagine who it would be lying dead now, but he couldn't. Everyone who he knew was still alive. The dead body was just a faceless mass.

He shivered again, and sat up, placing his feet on the floor. He grabbed one of his boots he had taken off before going to sleep. He pulled it on and laced it up, then started with the other one. He had just stood up when a voice, Danya's voice, rang out from all around him. He jumped in shock, but knew what was going on. The first announcement had begun. Danya was getting in touch.
Edited by Malloon, Nov 1 2016, 05:53 PM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Malloon
Member Avatar
Survivor
[ *  * ]
He sounded less impressive than Ben remembered him. He remembered someone inhuman, something... monstrous.

Well, he was monstrous, right? Right? He was the one responsible for the entire situation, and he was sitting somewhere with a microphone, gloating and smiling, probably, at his handiwork. What else could you call that, but evil?

Yeah, but he didn't sound like he was Satan himself, he thought. He sounded like.. like a... he...

He confirmed Ben's deduction. Someone had died, and that was why he lived. No, people had died. More than one. He sat down on the bed as Mr. Danya spoke, numbly listening to him rattle off names. First person, Jennifer Su. He didn't recognise the name, but she hadn't been killed. She had just died.

Just.

Why was that better?

"No murder." He felt the justification rest on his tongue, but he just stopped himself from speaking it aloud.

Yeah, but...

Second person, Florentina Luz. Third person, Isabelle Ramirez. First victim, first killer. And the mute girl hadn't had a part in it. Had he been wrong about her, or were there more than one people depraved enough to commit murder? He didn't know, but either would mean he'd been dead wrong in one of his conclusions on the day before. He didn't like being wrong, not that wrong.

He didn't recognise either of these names either. Florentina Luz? Probably from the Luz clan. Was she...?

But Danya didn't stop to let him think.

Nancy Kyle. No idea who she was. Second killer. Christ, how many were there? Third dead, Scarlett McAfee. Died horribly. Ben felt nauseous at the very idea of a hatchet slicing into somebody. At the very least, he didn't know her.

"That shouldn't make you feel better," he scolded himself, though his heart wasn't into it. He found it difficult to transcend his numbness over the whole ordeal and make it personal. Making it personal would make him feel awful. It might make him snap again.

The next name almost managed it, though. Kimiko Kao. The name that had been lurking in the back of his head since the day before. A sinking feeling took hold of him, dragging the minute satisfaction he had over being right down with it. All he could do was nod his head and say "Yup". Three people who had killed. Four people, now including a guy called Cristóbal Morales (never heard of him either), dead.

But it didn't stop there. He heard the names, but didn't know the faces. If someone asked him who had done what, who was dead and who had killed, he would have difficulty answering. The dead were gone, but the living weren't any less distant. Barry Banks, Alvaro Vacanti, Abigail Floyd, Conrad Harrod (Ben vaguely remembered the name. Did he talk to him once?), Harold Porter, Isabelle Ramirez (again), Alex Tarquin, Rea Adams and Joshua Bracewell.

Ben now regretted having such a small social circle. He had friends, but he now realised that everybody else had made little impression on him. And, probably, he on them. No wonder he had so severely misjudged them before! He didn't know squat about any of them.

At the end of the speech, Danya mentioned that the supply depot, whatever that was, had become a danger zone - he remembered that part of the introduction now. Then Danya mentioned Kimiko again. Though she had only killed once, her kill had been the "best" (disgusting use of that word) apparently. However wrong he had been about his classmates overall, his quick and dirty assessment of Kimiko had been right on the money, apparently.

The assessment that had rightly assumed that she wasn't as strict as he was, morally. Perhaps he should take that as a guideline for judging how people would act, instead? Ben felt bad at that idea, but he couldn't let it go. After all, that one had given results. "No....", he whispered. He didn't want to. How could he live life peacefully if...? He almost laughed. The time for that was over. Besides, as proven by the day before, he himself wasn't as strict as he would like to be.

"Arrrgghhh...", he moaned. He couldn't believe he was considering this. How could he start treating people like that? But then he had a thought. Who did he know who was as basically as strict as he was? Who hadn't freaked out, and had taken his freak out in his stride? Who, Ben knew, had illicit urges that he had kept in check for years now?

It was almost meant to be. Perhaps it really was.

He walked over to the door and opened it. He couldn't think what he'd have done, who he'd have gone to talk to if Maxim hadn't been his friend.

Huh. Where was Lili?
Edited by Malloon, Jan 26 2017, 04:32 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Malloon
Member Avatar
Survivor
[ *  * ]
It was just like yesterday. The weather, that is.

Ben stood outside the door of the building he had slept in, looking up at the sky. The clouds moved slowly across the blue, and the wind came and went, ruffling his hair as it did. He thought about what he would give for a kite at that moment. To just... go. To lose himself in the movement, watching it dipping and diving. To make it dance through the air at his slightest whim.

But he couldn't. He had no kite, he was stuck on this goddamned island, and Lili was gone.

She wasn't anywhere to be seen. She wasn't in her room, she wasn't in the corridor and she wasn't outside. Her stuff was gone and unless she was in one of the rooms, she had disappeared.

At first, when Ben couldn't find her, he had simply been confused. That confusion had swiftly been joined by worry when he saw that she was truely nowhere to be found. He thought about the possibilites: Maybe she needed to go to the bathroom. Why hadn't she warned him or Maxim, then? Maybe the anouncement had upset her. But why wouldn't she have gone to him or Maxim, then? She hadn't done anything Mr. Danya felt he needed to mention. The more and more he thought, the less he thought that there existed a good reason for leaving. Had she been kidnapped then? It almost sounded cartoonish, as if someone had snuck up, stuck her in a bag and left with her over their shoulder. He rather thought that he'd have heard something if that happened. Or Maxim would have, at least.

Ben rejected the idea she might have been killed out of hand. "No, she can't have been.", he assured himself internally. Murders weren't silent. There was shouting, and fighting, or at least screaming. Even if someone had managed to sneak up and kill her before she could scream, there would be traces. Blood? Right? And there was no blood. He looked back at the coridor to check. Yeah. No blood.

Which meant she had left of her own accord. Damn. Damn damn "Damn damn DAMN!".

"Are you quite finished?" remarked a voice from inside him.

"Right.", he said. "Darn."

He should go and tell Maxim, he thought. He hadn't seen him yet, either, he realized, and that thought made him pause all of a sudden. Maxim was still here, right? Good God, if he was gone too...

Just barely shy of running he rushed over to Maxim's room, and called out: "Maxim! Hey, Maxim, are you still there?" If he was gone, but no he couldn't be... Not him, not now! Not after yesterday! He reached the room and quickly grabbed for the door handle.
Edited by Malloon, Nov 10 2016, 09:00 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Malloon
Member Avatar
Survivor
[ *  * ]
With a panicked push, Ben opened the door to Maxim's room. "Maxim...?!", he repeated again, though he trailed off when he saw that his fear had been for naught. Maxim sat on the edge of the bed, looking at him. He breathed a sigh of relief, but felt ashamed almost immediately. He had barged into Maxim's room, not unannounched, but without waiting for Maxim to let him in. He retreated back through the door, holding his hands in front of him.

"I... sorry.", he mumbled. He owed Maxim an explanation. He lowered his hands. "Sorry. Listen: Lili's gone. She's vanished. And as far as I can tell, she went by herself. I was afraid you'd be gone too. That... that was wrong of me." He felt stupid. Why would Maxim be gone? He had just been going to talk to him over his dilemma and had praised him as morally steadfast.

He guessed he was just afraid of losing another friend. He became more and more aware of how Lili's departure hurt him. He had thought they were in this together, that they would watch each other's backs and help each other escape! Lili leaving put another dent in his confidence. Yesterday there was the one over his own sanity, this morning there had been the one over his classmates' morallity, and now, the very concept of friendship seemed fragile, delicate, when just twenty minutes ago it had been an unshakable pillar. He didn't know how many hits he could take.

It didn't help that he was accutely aware that his chances of escaping alive had shrunken quite a bit because of this. That Lili might have caused him, inadvertently or no, to never see his family again.

But all was not lost. There was still Maxim, after all.
Edited by Malloon, Nov 17 2016, 06:00 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Malloon
Member Avatar
Survivor
[ *  * ]
It was just like yesterday, again. Maxim's calm and collected demenour stood in stark contrast to Ben's panicked and fearful reaction. He chided himself for it, resolving to try and emulate Maxim more from now on, his admiration of his friend having grown exponentially since he had turned up yesterday. What Maxim did, he would do, and the first order of business was to stop behaving like a frightened child. He had to be calm and he had to be strong. He had to wise up. Basically, he had to grow up, and do it now.

"Those are resolutions you cannot keep.", said a voice that was becoming far too familiar. Ben wavered and didn't answer.

Maxim stood up from the bed, while Ben stayed put in the doorway. Then Maxim looked at Ben and asked "What now?". It sounded like a statement, though it was phrased as a question.

"Right.", answered Ben. He didn't really know where to go from here, either. "I guess it doesn't make any sense to go after her. She went and left us behind.", he spoke, bitterness seeping into his words. Lili was gone and they couldn't rely on her any more. Not even if she came back.

Before the announcement, Ben would have suggested to go looking for other people. Now, he wasn't sure. It depended on how he would decide to judge people in the future, and to decide, he needed to talk with Maxim. Yet it seemed so rude to announce that he might have a suggestion, but it would take a long and probably arduous conversation to be sure. He would talk to Maxim. He needed to. And he wasn't sure how long it could wait, but he would try to do so for a little while. Just until the right moment presented itself.

In the meantime, they might as well do something useful.

"What about breakfast? I can't think of anything else right now."
Edited by Malloon, Nov 17 2016, 07:24 AM.
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
Malloon
Member Avatar
Survivor
[ *  * ]
Maxim laughed at him. Ben was taken slightly aback by that, and felt a bit hurt. Maxim did clarify his original question, however, and Ben understood that his answer hadn't been anywhere near that what Maxim was expecing. So he could hardly blame Maxim for it.

Still. He had been quite serious.

Anyway; Maxim had apparently been thinking in the same direction as Ben had before. He realised he wouldn't have to wait to ask Maxim his opinion - and that was quite a relief. Maxim walked past him into the corridor and, after turning to face him, rephrased his question. It seemed he was looking for a concrete answer. Ben hoped he wouldn't mind that he didn't have one.

"That's sort of what I meant.", he began. "I don't know. I mean... I don't know if I... we... can trust other people. Or even be near them." He looked down at the floor and turned away from Maxim, towards the main exit. He felt ashamed of what he was saying, but didn't stop. "Yesterday I would have thought it was silly of me, immoral even, to be that suspicious of people. The only person I mistrusted was Kimiko, and not completely justifiably - she might have picked up that glass shard for protection, I suppose." He turned back to Maxim, meaning to face his friend when he stated the crux of the matter. "But she killed someone. I was right."

Ben waited a moment to let that sink in, then continued: "I was right to mistrust her, and wrong that our classmates wouldn't kill. I... I'm afraid that going looking for other people will be more dangerous than... not looking for them."

He hoped that would answer Maxim's question. Or at least part of it.

"For the rest, I don't know. Perhaps we should... I don't know."

Ben realized that he didn't have a clue how they could escape and thus his confidence was dealt another blow, but one that was less damaging than the previous ones. He - they - would figure it out. Had to figure it out. But he would need others to do so. Ben saw his dilemma - he both needed and wanted to avoid other people - and regretted Lili's departure even more bitterly.

(Benjamin Lichter continues in "And feel the blackbird's sudden tug.")
(Maxim Kehlenbrink continued in Idiot Launch)
V6 Character:
Benjamin "Squirrel" Lichter [ ~ / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / + / > ] - You'll find him in the clouds.
V7 Characters:
Chloe Bruges [ - ] - You'll find her doing math.
Joseph "Joey" Quintero - You'll find him writing speaches.
Keith Rogers - You'll find him out with his gang.

In the unlikely event you want to use my characters...
Offline Profile Quote Post Goto Top
 
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